Adobe engineers have been very busy during the final phases of Lightroom’s development. In addition to many performance and UI refinements, the 1.0 version that ships on Feb. 19, 2007 includes some great new features that I want to introduce you to today.
In case you haven’t heard, Lightroom is ready for both Windows and Mac photographers. Early adopters who purchase the application before April 30 can do so for $199 US. After April 30, Lightroom will cost you $299. Adobe is also providing a free trial download of the 1.0 version on Feb. 19.
When I look at the feature set in version 1, I just have to say “wow!” First, we now have the “Clone and Healing” tool, so we can address pesky sensor dust without having to roundtrip to Photoshop. Adobe engineers also slipped in the “Targeted Adjustment” tool. Among other things, it allows me to pick a precise hue in a photo just by placing by cursor over it, and then use all of Lightroom’s advanced color adjustments for that specific color. I can also use Targeted Adjustment for tone curves. This one addition also supercharges Lightroom’s already impressive Develop module.
Speaking of image editing, you can make tonal adjustments right in the histogram by dragging the curves around. This allows you to interact more directly with the image. Instead of moving sliders, watching the histogram, and seeing how it plays out on the image, you just play with the histogram and look at your picture.
Since I’m a big fan of Bridge, I’m happy to see Adobe adopt the color label system in Lightroom too. And those labels are compatible with Bridge. It’s a nice touch for those who have been using the system already.
I also have to mention Lightroom’s ability to back up your master images to a separate hard drive during import. This means that photographers can erase their memory cards immediately while working in the field.
As a side note, there’s good news on the Raw processing front too. Adobe Camera Raw 3.7 will also ship on Feb. 19, and this latest version is compatible with Lightroom, so the adjustments you make in ACR will look the same in Lightroom, and the other way around. This brings excellent compatibility between the two applications.
This is just a sampling of the powerful feature set in Lightroom. Look for practical applications of these tools in my upcoming book, Photoshop Lightroom Adventure.